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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Federal Ministry of Labor and Social AffairsDigital technologies, ecological change and the COVID-19 pandemic are transforming the labor market. As a result, the demands placed on every individual are changing. On 20 October 2020, State Secretary Björn Böhning and Joost Korte, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General responsible for employment, held a discussion with fellow policy-makers from different EU member states and round about 300 viewers from all over Europe. The question was how workers can successfully take control of their careers in a world of work that is undergoing transformation. Federal Minister Hubertus Heil welcomed the participants to the conference. The Federal Minister made the following statement:

The decisive question for all of us in Europe is how we can make sure that today’s workers can do tomorrow’s work. The best answer to that question is: continuing education and training.

He added that the pandemic was making it even clearer that this was necessary, and that particular attention must now be paid to ensure that existing inequalities were not exacerbated. The Federal Minister said the following was clear:

We need new approaches to this problem, and I am sure that we can learn from each other by looking beyond our national borders. The need … [for individuals to pursue continuing education and training] will continue to grow in the future. And Europe’s citizens rightly expect policy-makers to set the right course, working together with the social partners.

The participants in the discussion were: Björn Böhning, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Germany Caroline Cohen, Advisor on vocational education and training to Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor, Employment and Integration, France Joost Korte, Director-General for Employment , Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European UnionMateja Ribič, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, SloveniaRoland Sauer, Director General of the Labor Market Division at the Federal Ministry of Labor, Family and Youth, AustriaDaniël Waagmeester , Director Industrial Relations, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Netherlands The focus of the discussion was on three big questions: For one thing, employees need information about which skills are in demand so they can further their professional development. Here, sector-specific and AI-supported analyzes also offer completely new opportunities and possibilities to show which direction the labor market is going. This will reduce some of the uncertainties as to exactly which skills will be in demand in the future. Another challenge is the access to continuing education and training opportunities. Anyone who wants to participate in continuing education and training should be able to find a fitting program easily. Transparency as to what is available plays a decisive role. If people want to participate in continuing education and training programs, they have to have not only time to learn, but also the financial means. This applies to both the costs of training and adequate wage replacement. State Secretary Björn Böhning added:

Establishing continuing education and training programs that reach those people whose labor market opportunities have not been good is a great challenge for European labor market policy.

Looking beyond national borders: What we can learn from each other The good news is that most EU member states have already taken steps to address these challenges. The focus is on individualized support. Examples are programs that allow employees to take time off work to participate in continuing education and training for their work (Austria); the provision of a budget for continuing education and training (the Netherlands); and an app for skills (France). Next year, the European Commission will also launch an EU-wide initiative on individual learning accounts.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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